Plot Structure

Plot Structure

by Adam Huddleston


I can’t recall exactly where I got this from (could have been on this Wordsmith Six site for all I know) but I found it to be very useful.

Plot Structure


Inciting incident:

First plot point:

First pinch point:


Second pinch point:


Second plot point:



Show protagonist in “normal” (current) world- Protagonist is incomplete (reveal flaw/insecurity/secret want)

Inciting incident that forces protagonist from normal world- Increased awareness of need for change

Introduce key secondary characters; establish setting & tone- fear/resistance to change — comfortable in current life

Protagonist must make a choice/decision- Overcomes fear/resistance to change

Plot point #1: Journey begins as result of decision Mental/emotional commitment to change

Protagonist begins “living” in the new world Protagonist is disorganized (imagine the feeling of first day in new school)

New complications arise Protagonist is tested and begins adapting to new ways/questioning the old

Complications grow –Complications escalate to new crisis Protagonist is slowly growing, but still inauthentic–not committed to changed self

Mid-point: crisis forces new decision/direction Protagonist is confronted with their flaw/desire (often is the antagonist who holds up this “mirror”)

Protagonist catches breath (even if complications are brewing behind the scenes) Reward scene: protagonist has accomplished something and has brief moment of victory

Complications develop new level of complexity Begins accepting consequences of new life


Outtakes 327


By Cait Collins


I have a favorite Christmas story… How The Grinch Stole Christmas. You see, I have my Grinch moments. There are days when I want it all to go away. I don’t want to shop at the local stores, nor do I plan to spend hours on-line trying to find gifts for my nieces and nephews, especially now that most of them are teens and pre-teens. That’s why I go to the bank and get cash to give to the kids. At least I know money fits and it’s the right color.

Then there are the days when I get lucky and hit the mall and find everything I need. On those days I’m Cindy Lou Who. The characters in the Grinch’s story are so memorable. I can easily picture the Grinch, his dog, and Cindy Lou. I especially like the Grinch in his Santa suit. If I had to use one word to describe each one it would go something like this. Max-faithful. Cindy Lou Who-trusting. The Grinch-lost.

The Grinch may be lost and a little bitter at the beginning of the story, but he learns something about the season. Christmas is about hearts, and when he begins to understand that the season is about love, his own heart grows.

All the characters in our stories have the potential for growth and change. As the story develops, the reader should see the characters grow. The playboy becomes a faithful husband and father. A thief restores his ill-gotten gains to his victims. The ugly duckling becomes a swan. And the woman who has been physically and emotionally battered learns to love and be loved. It is the writer’s job to craft his characters so that their transformations are real and not shallow and cookie-cutter. After all, who would have thought the Grinch would go from zero to hero?

Better Blogging

Better Blogging

Rory C. Keel

Tonight I have worked on my blogs. I’m trying to be a better blogger.

Here are some tips i’ve been trying to follow. Try them yourself


Here are ten tips that help me with my blog writing.

  1. Make your opinion known
  2. Link like crazy
  3. Write less
  4. 250 Words is enough
  5. Make Headlines snappy
  6. Write with passion
  7. Include Bullet point lists
  8. Edit your post
  9. Make your posts easy to scan
  10. Be consistent with your style
  11. Litter the post with keywords

How is your NaNoWriMo going? 

How is your NaNoWriMo going? 

Natalie Bright
I didn’t start anything new, but I am making great progress on finishing my short story for our Route 66 Anthology. We were on the road during the holidays so I took pen and paper to stay on track for NaNoWriMo. Sometimes it helps to get a completely different perspective from a computer screen. A bumpy highway prevented me from writing legibly, so I began to make a list of major scenes, character thoughts, and plot points. The story came to me fast. It was completely in my head, each scene clearly visible and the list went fast because I wasn’t taking the time to make complete sentences. And now I have a full outline to THE END. During the last week of November I can begin fleshing out the scenes and adding sensory details.
Hope you had a productive November !

The Blood


The Blood

By Nandy Ekle

Shameless brag.

I have three granddaughters, ages ten, nine, and six. My ten-year-old has written several short stories with elements of mystery and thrillers. My nine-year-old has written—and won awards— for poetry and has no less than five novels started. And my six-year old has one of the most incredible imaginations ever.

It’s definitely in the blood.

Be Thankful

Outtakes 326

Be Thankful

By Cait Collins


I recently challenged my 2nd and 3rd grade Sunday school class to make a list of things they were thankful for. Most of them came up with some pretty good answers. They realized they should be grateful for food, clothes, family, friends, and their church family. Why is it that kids seem to see the good things and are happy for them while adults often lack the ability to see the importance of these simple things?

Too often we focus on what we don’t have. For example, if you submitted a manuscript but it was rejected, were you disappointed or did you accept it as one opinion? Think about it. The next agent or editor may view it in a different light and make a good offer. Don’t quit, submit it to someone else. Or, self-publish your story or manuscript. Above all be thankful for your ability to craft a story. Many people think about writing, but never put pen to paper.

Be thankful for your family or critique group who help you make the story better. Be grateful for technology and the avenues for self-publishing. Writers have more options than ever before for getting their work to the public. Do not overlook the opportunities.

I wish you and yours a happy and safe Thanksgiving.



Natalie Bright

For the past six years, Mark Coker with Smashwords has shared results of their readers survey. Several of the topics covered include pricing, box sets, word count, social media, genres. The results of the 2017 Smashwords Survey can be viewed in total, see links below.

The Smashwords catalog offers over 450,000 titles and is fiction heavy. 87.5% of Smashwords’ sales during this survey period were for fiction. Romance, including YA romance, accounted for almost 50% of total sales.

Listen to the Podcast #7 here:

Watch his complete RWA slideshow presentation here:

Here are a few of the major points that I found interesting:

Top Selling Genre

According to the 2017 Smashwords survey, the top selling genres for fiction were Romance, Erotica, Fantasy, Young Adult & Teen, and Science Fiction. The top five for non-fiction were Self Improvement at #1, Health, Well-Being and Medicine #2, Business and Economics, Religion and Spirituality, and Relationships and Family.  Obviously romance readers are the most veracious, and are loyal fans.

Presence on Social Media

Of the top 1000 bestsellers, close to 75% of these authors have a website or a blog. Over 60% of the bestselling authors are on Facebook and on Twitter. Readers like connecting with their favorite authors

Book Pricing

Books that are priced at free, on average, get about 33 times more downloads then books at any other price. More proof that FREE for a first book in your series is a powerful way to introduce readers to your work. By pricing your book at free, you make it easy for new readers to take a chance on you. Many authors write a shorter novella priced as free or as a give-away in newsletters, as an introduction to their series. The survey definitely shows that series with free first book earn more than series without that starter incentive book. I’m torn on this topic, because I wonder if our hard work has been devalued. Everybody thinks they can write a book, and it’s so easy to publish these days. The profession of writing has shifted away from the craft of writing a great story to publish your work now. As you all know, writing and editing is some of the hardest work you’ll ever do, and it has to be done first before you can have a book in hand. Then comes the publishing and promotion.

It’s Still about the Story

After last week’s critique meeting with the WordsmithSix gang, I can tell you that quality continues to be our focus. We are working on stories for a Route 66 themed anthology, and from what I read last week, readers are in for a treat. We leave no stone unturned when we critique each other’s work. We talk about character motivation, plot structure, and setting descriptions. Our meetings usually run about three hours, and we don’t waste much time on spelling and grammar issues. We really try to dig deep to assure that readers discover an entertaining story.

Fear of Heights

Fear of Heights

Nandy Ekle

Raylene dropped her purse and keys in the chair by the door. Her six-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Stevie, and her just-turned-five-year-old son, Wonder, came bounding up the steps into the mobile home behind her, trying to tear each other apart.

“No, I get the first snack,” Stevie yelled.

“No, I do,” Wonder yelled back.

“Ow! you pulled my hair! I’m telling. Mom, Wonder pulled my hair and it really hurt!” She rubbed the offended part of her scalp, then she stomped on his foot.

Wonder let out an amazing shriek. “Mom! Stevie stepped on my foot!”

Raylene took a deep breath and shut the door. “Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop it right now! Both of you. No snacks for anyone. Both of you get to your rooms while I get dinner done. Now.”

“But, Mom,” they both whined in unison.

“Get!” She pointed toward the hallway and twitched her head in the same direction. Sister and brother looked at each other with unabashed hatred in their eyes, then plodded off to their rooms.

Excerpt from “The Winter Wizard”

Excerpt from “The Winter Wizard”

By Adam Huddleston

This week, I simply wanted to release a few paragraphs of a fantasy story that I am currently working on. If it were to ever be published, it would actually be the beginning of the second book in a series entitled “The Sea-Wall”.

The wind and snow assaulted the small, wooden cabin. Each gust threatened to separate the old timbers that made up the walls and roof. Ben and his family snuggled deep under their bed covers seeking warmth, but only managing to frustrate their tired bodies. Just as the family patriarch was nearing sleep, a loud rap came from the front door.

Ben slowly cracked one eye open and peered into the darkness. He waited a few seconds, hoping the sound was just a rogue branch blown by the wind, or perhaps a wayward owl, lost in the blur of a night blizzard. He counted to five and was about to drift off to sleep when the knock came again.

Ben covered himself in a giant bear skin and stumbled out of bed. The icy-cold floor bit into his feet and he moaned loudly. The knocking continued, growing in intensity.

“I’m coming!” he growled at the newcomer. “It’s the middle of the night, don’t ya know?”

Ben hobbled through the modest den and grasped the brass knob, wincing as the metal stung his palm, and ripped the door open.

On the narrow stoop, covered in a thick blanket of bright snow, was something that resembled a human figure. After a few moments, a thick walking staff appeared out of the whiteness and pushed an ice-covered hat upwards. A pair of deep-blue eyes, deeper and bluer than the waters of the Sea-Wall (not that Ben had actually ever seen the Wall in person), opened. The eyes belonged to a trouble-worn face, and Ben took a step back as a bushy set of grey eyebrows furrowed over them. The man leaned forward and fixed Ben with a fierce gaze.

“It’s time to repay your debt,” he said.